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Green Bamboo Warrior

 

"Art is the expression of the self. Remember that Jeet Kune Do is merely a name used, a mirror in which to see ourselves." (Bruce Lee)

 

unseen game of death


Timeline

When Bruce Lee sadly passed away on 20th July, 1973, he had only completed four movies. These were 'The Big Boss' and 'Fist of Fury' for Golden Harvest. 'The Way of the Dragon' for his own joint company 'Concord Productions' co-partner with Raymond Chow and finally 'Enter the Dragon' for Warner Bros/Concord.


"The Game of Death" which Bruce had started filming scenes for in August 1972 when his former student, basketball star, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had paid Bruce a visit in Hong Kong. Bruce had unfortunately never completed this film by the time he had sadly passed away. He started filming "Enter the Dragon" on February 1st 1973. Bruce was the writer and director for "The Game of Death" as he previously had done in his third film, "The Way of the Dragon." Before he had passed away, Bruce had signed George Lazenby (James Bond for OHMSS) to co-star in GAME and was going to South Korea to finish the final scenes.


After the completion of The Game of Death, Bruce was planning on returning back to the U.S. to star in another film for Warner Bros. This was to be "Green Bamboo Warrior" translated as 'The Conqueror of the Golden Mountain'. Bruce had completed his script for this film by January 1972 after he had completed his second film "Fist of Fury" aka Chinese Connection. Apparently there are taped recordings of Bruce Lee explaining the story and recording his ideas. Bolo Yeung from 'Enter the Dragon' was going to co-star with Bruce Lee in this film. Funnily enough, this was the film Bruce was going to use, Enter the Dragon as the title for, and wanted to actually film this script before The Way of the Dragon.


Storyline

The setting is the turn-of-the-century San Francisco. Bruce plays one of twelve Chinese workers who endure the long sea voyage in their quest for the 'Mountain of Gold', and a new life in America. On arrival they are put to work in a mining town, where conditions are brutal. Bruce who is skilled in the martial arts becomes the leader of the Chinese workers. Finally, he rebels against the bullying westerners, and uses his JKD techniques to teach one of them a very harsh lesson. The mine's foreman holds Bruce at gunpoint, and the rest of the guards gather to deliver a brutal beating.


Bruce is now left in the mines, tied up and very close to death. Wounded and hungry, Bruce escapes from the mine. He takes refuge in the cabin of an old Chinese Woman who also works in the mine. When she sees that he is severely injured, she feeds him some congee (rice porridge) to build his strength. The old woman's treatment and the congee is what saves Bruce's life, and now he vows to take revenge. He uses a length of green bamboo as his weapon, and uses it to beat the bad guys. Bruce becomes a real hero for the Chinese workers. He faces various challengers from both Asian and western fighters, and wins every encounter.

 

unseen outdoor scenes


Conclusion

During the making of Enter the Dragon, Bruce had been approached by Andrew Vajna, a Hong Kong businessman planning to move into the film industry. Bruce had pitched the story to Vajna, who was very receptive. Vajna enlisted Golden Harvest employee, Russell Cawthorne to work on an English version of the script. Andrew Vajna went on to make his name in Hollywood with the Sly Stallone actioner First Blood. As is evident from the unfinished 'The Game of Death' the unmade 'The Silent Flute' and Bruce's 'Green Bamboo Warrior' Project, Bruce Lee had planned to move beyond 'mere technique' to express his philosophy through his films.

 

(References - Impact Mag article by Bey Logan, Paul Li - Hong Kong Bruce Lee Historian)